Can Grace Poe win in FPJ's hometown?

In his hometown of San Carlos, Pangasinan, Fernando Poe Jr. is king.

Will his daughter, presidential candidate Grace Poe, have the loyalty of her father's kababayan?

Camille Elemia reports.

A show of force in her father’s kingdom

Thousands of people flock here in San Carlos City in Pangasinan, where the late action star Fernando Poe Jr was born, to support the king’s daughter.

It is Poe’s 2nd time here in the city and 5th in the vote rich province – a move seen to consolidate votes in her father’s turf.

Presidential bet Grace Poe, her running mate Francis Escudero, and 10 of their senatorial bets visit the vote-rich province of Pangasinan on Friday.

And what better way to start the roadshow of provincial rallies than here in San Carlos City with a special warm, boisterous  welcome?

The dome is filled with supporters of Poe, whose father FPJ was born in the city in 1939.

Poe grabs the chance to personally seek the support of her so-called kababayans. After all, the first time she was here she has not declared her candidacy yet.

GRACE POE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kaya mga kababayan, inaalay ko sa inyo, mga taga Pangasinan, ang aking takbo na ito. Sapagkat dahil sa inyo na hindi sumuko sa akin, na hindi sumuko sa aking pamilya, na patuloy ang iyong pagsuporta, ako’y nabibigyan ng lakas at inspirasyon na gawin ang nararapat para mai-antas ang buhay ng ating kababayan

(Fellowmen, I offer to you, people of Pangasinan, this presidential bid. Because you never gave up on me, on my family, and you continuously support me, I am given the strength and inspiration to do what is right to improve the lives of our people.)

In 2013, Poe topped the senatorial polls in the province. But in 2010, her opponent then vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas also won in Pangasinan.

Does this mean it’s in the bag for Poe? 

Some old San Carlos folks think so. The name of FPJ is enough to deliver the votes for her, they say.

REBECCA PETRAS, 57: Iboboto namin si Grace kasi yung papa niya si Fernando Poe Jr parang niloko ung boto nya kaya siguro ngayon paliguan ng boto ngayon.

(We will vote for Grace because Fernando Poe Jr is her papa. He was cheated of his votes, so this is payback time.)

REBECCA FERNANDEZ, 54: Grace Poe, makatao tapos maka Pilipino, naniniwala ka na Pilipino ka? Father nya Filipino e.

(Grace Poe has a heart for the people, a heart for the Filipino. You believe she is Filipino? Her father is.)

BUDDY ERFE, 54: Si Grace Poe. Oo naniniwala ako na Pilipino siya dahil although foundling sya dito sya natagpuan sa Pilipinas, Filipino citizen sya.

(Grace Poe, yes. I believe she is Filipino because although she's a foundling, she was found here in the Philippines.) 

Some young ones, however, are still unsure. More than affinity, they say they are about a candidate’s platforms.

JENNY PRADO, 38: Wala pa. Syempre mamimili tayo di porket  kababayan natin un na, syempre pipiliin natin yun talgaang makakapagpaganda ng ating bansa.

(None yet. Of course we won't choose someone just because she's our townsfolk. We'll choose someone who can make this country better.)

MARICRIS SAMERA, 19: Hindi pa po kasi gusto ko munang subukan lahat sila. Tinitignan ko pa kung sino karapat dapat iboto. Kailangan fair tayo, kahit na taga San Carlos ka, kailangan tignan mo ung karapat dapat.

(Not yet decided, because I want to test all of them. I'm still mulling over who's worth my vote. We have to be fair, even if she's from San Carlos, you have to scrutinize and see who's worth voting.)

Whether Poe wins in her father's kingdom or not, she will first have to win her battle in the Supreme Court.

Camille Elemia, Rappler, Pangasinan. – Rappler.com